Friday, April 6, 2012

From My Kitchen: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

As we've tried to find our way through Sam's dietary restrictions: no wheat, no soy, and no dairy, baking has become a bit of a nightmare. Most recipes require a combination of flours and starches to substitute for good old-fashioned and off-limits wheat flour. Add in the need for xanthan gum or guar gum and it gets complicated fast.

So, I've been buying Enjoy Life brand cookies instead of baking. All of the kids like the crisp sugar cookies. Amelia is a big fan of the double chocolate brownie cookies, and of course, snickerdoodles have saved the day around here more than once.

Then a couple weeks ago a friend posted a link on Facebook to an NPR article about *gasp!* flourless baking. FLOURLESS! This is pure genius, people.

I read the article and headed straight to Google. I've eaten flourless chocolate cake before, but there's so much more out there! Including a lot of recipes that our Jewish friends prepare during Passover, when flour is off limits.

Most of them are pretty simple, with a short list of ingredients. And as long as you can beat egg whites, you're in business.

Of course, I still have to make substitutions for the butter, but I am thanking my lucky stars that we don't have egg issues, too!

The first thing I tried was a chocolate cupcake recipe. Because sometimes life just calls for cupcakes, especially when you're a kid! I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with White Chocolate Mint Cream.

Mine are also dairy-free, and the whipped cream topping, which sounds amazing, is pretty tricky when you are dairy-free. There is a product called MimicCreme that claims to be a great dairy-free substitute for cream, but I haven't tried it yet. And I'd have to substitute for the white chocolate, since it has dairy in it, too.

Instead, we just ate ours plain or with ice cream, and they were awesome. Light, melt-in-your mouth, and chocolatey good. As the original recipe said, these cupcakes will fall in the middle after baking. That's where the whipped cream comes in: It makes a great filling for those dented middles. Not that my kids cared at all about the dents!

Here's my dairy-free version of the flourless original:

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

6 ounces Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons Earth Balance soy-free, dairy-free butter substitute
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons  sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Stir chocolate chips, and butter substitute together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. (Smitten Kitchen notes that a hand mixer is best because the amounts are so small. Mine worked perfectly, and with no flour you don't really need a workhorse of a mixer.) Briefly beat chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form.

Fold whites into chocolate mixture in three additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Some of my tops cracked a bit, as Smitten Kitchen noted on her blog, but it didn't affect the taste!

Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. For appearances, feel free to fill the indentation with whipped cream, ice cream or even raspberries or strawberries. If you have kids who haven't seen a home-baked sweet treat in three months, just plop them on the table and stand back!

Seriously delicious. Even if you aren't on a special diet, these are worth a little time in the kitchen. You won't believe how light and lucious they are.


© Trippin' Mama 2012

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